Politics & Government

NRA to pay $15,000 for breaking state campaign-finance rules

The National Rifle Association and a related political-spending committee have agreed to pay a combined $15,000 in fines in connection with late campaign-finance-disclosure reports made during a 2014 political campaign.

An investigation by the state Public Disclosure Commission details the late filings made by the NRA and its independent spending committee, known as National Rifle Association of America Washingtonians Opposed to I-594.

The NRA used the committee to campaign against Initiative 594, which ultimately passed. The measure extended gun-purchase background checks in the state to private sales and transfers, such as some of those found online or at gun shows.

Seven times during that campaign, Washingtonians Opposed to I-594 was late in disclosing campaign contributions it received from the NRA, according to a proposed settlement with the PDC.

Each election year beginning in June, campaigns are required to file reports for donations by the Monday after they are received.

But some disclosure reports weren’t filed until weeks or more than a month after the contributions were received.

The money disclosed late amounted to $431,348 of $485,383 the NRA donated to Washingtonians Opposed to I-594, according to the PDC investigation.

The investigation also found one instance in which Washingtonians Opposed to I-594 was late in disclosing campaign spending.

Under the proposed settlement, Washingtonians Opposed to I-594 would pay a $10,000 civil penalty.

The NRA itself is facing a $10,000 civil penalty, after the investigation revealed that twice during the 2014 campaign, the organization was late in filing monthly lobbyist employer contribution reports.

Because the organization employs lobbyists in the state, it is required to separately disclose contributions it makes to ballot-measure campaigns.

But the investigation found two instances in which the NRA was late — 30 days in one case, 60 days in another — in disclosing its donations made to a political-action committee known as WA No on I-594.

Of that penalty, $5,000 would be suspended on a set of conditions, including one that neither the organization nor any of its future spending committees commit similar violations during the next four years.

Steven Donaldson, the attorney representing the NRA in the case, did not immediately return a call and email seeking comment.

The PDC is expected to vote on the proposed settlement at its regularly scheduled commission meeting Thursday.

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